Flex Fuel and the Ford Taurus

The Ford Taurus is one of the most popular Ford vehicles ever made. It has a storied history of success among consumers. Recent versions of the car have included the flex fuel feature. Flex fuel is a concept that has been around for many years but has only gained widespread popularity and use in recent years. This article seeks to inform the reader about flex fuel use with the Ford Taurus.

What is Flex Fuel?

Flex fuel vehicles are automobiles that can run on more than one type of gasoline. The common types found on most flex fuel vehicles are standard gasoline and E-85 fuel. A vehicle that can use either type cannot use them at the same time but instead must use them independently of each other. For example, a person could not have half a tank of standard gasoline and fill up with E-85. They could only use one or the other.

What is E-85?

E-85 is an alternative fuel made from corn. The corn is processed to make ethanol. This can then be burned as fuel in a vehicle that has a specially designed engine and fuel systems. The specially designed systems are what make the vehicle capable of burning the E-85 fuel. If used in vehicles not equipped for E-85, problems with the vehicle could occur from E-85 usage.

Is E-85 Fuel Better or Worse for the Ford Taurus?

According to reports from the United States Department of Energy website Fueleconomy.gov, E-85 is neither better nor worse than standard gasoline. Performance levels have been noted as staying the same and E-85 does not leave greater amounts of residue that standard gasoline in the engine and related systems. It has been reported by multiple sources, such as Consumer Reports, that E-85 does burn cleaner than standard gasoline which could lead to longer engine life.

Can a Person Save Money Using Flex Fuel?

That depends on the cost of the gas in a given area. During 2010 – 2011 the Midwest had lower prices on E-85. Stations such as Country Mark offered E-85 between one to two dollars during the time period. During the same time period, standard gasoline was hovering around three dollars a gallon. At that time the cost savings would have made the gas a better purchase. Today, these same stations offer E-85 and standard gasoline for comparable prices.

What are the Downsides to E-85?

E-85 is often hard to find. It is not commonly available at gas stations worldwide. It is more common in the Midwest. It should be noted that E-85 provides less energy output that results in less gas mileage. This difference would need to be taken into account when calculating savings as less gas mileage equates to more fill ups.

The Ford Taurus is versatile vehicle on multiple ways. It’s use of flex fuel is just one way. In areas where the price for E-85 offsets the loss of gas mileage, it can make a viable alternative to standard gas. However, in areas where the price does not offset the loss or mileage, or areas where E-85 is not readily available, the flex fuel option just becomes a useless fancy feature.